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Just Testing!

How would non-medical and ancillary staff react in the event of someone having a cardiac arrest on site at the Frome Medical Practice?

That was a covert scenario recently played out and co-ordinated between the medical practice’s management and the community defibrillator project team of  the Friends of Frome Hospital.

Senior partner, Dr. Tom Cahill, acted as the would-be cardiac patient in the ground floor area waiting room, when the reception team were alerted to get a defibrillator to the scene urgently.                                  

There are two defibrillators located on site; one being the practice’s own unit kept in area 6 on the first floor, and the Friends of Frome Hospital’s publically-available defibrillator (PAD) located on the outside wall facing  the car park.

The exercise was observed by Dr. Rhiannon Jones from the medical practice, and Derek Trick project leader of the Friends’ community defibrillator project team, whilst staff reacted to the emergency.                                                          

In a real situation, to gain access to the external unit would require an urgent call to the 999 emergency services, who would provide a code number to allow the immediate retrieval of the potential life-saving equipment. In this exercise the internal unit arrived on the scene in a little over 2 minutes, and the external PAD in 4 minutes – because of the would-be call the 999 service.

On reviewing the scenario Dr.Cahill commented, “Although all our on-site staff are fully aware of emergency situations that can arise, the prime premise for this exercise was to remind staff that an immediate reaction is essential in a life-threatening situation. We consider that both defibrillators arrived of the scene in acceptable times, and we were very satisfied with our staff’s spontaneous response to this unannounced  practice session. Our thanks go to Derek Trick from the Friends of Frome Hospital for his co-operation.”

The local Frome area, and surrounding villages, serviced from the Health Park, is uniquely covered by a network of  23 publically-available defibrillators, which have been installed by the Friends of Frome Hospital over the past four years. Awareness and training sessions is part of the ongoing scheme, with another open public session planned for the autumn, and lessons in schools scheduled throughout 2019.

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